APS receives grant from SMIF for Kids Korner

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), recently approved 17 grants through its Early Care and Education Wrap Around Grant program totaling $220,818, impacting 3,562 young children.

Among those receiving grants was Austin Public Schools, which received $4,405 for its Kids Korner to provide support and services for children’s social, emotional and physical health.

This special grant program helps fund early care and education wrap-around services for children birth to age eight from underserved and diverse populations in SMIF’s 20-county region.

“These organizations are providing critical services to the young children in southern Minnesota,” said Rae Jean Hansen, vice president of early childhood at SMIF. “We are honored to once again partner with MDE and the GEER Fund to support the children and families who rely on these organizations for their overall well-being.”

SMIF received funding from MDE on behalf of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund for this program. The GEER Fund provides emergency assistance for education agencies and services that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Wrap around services, a system of care management which supports children in all aspects of life, are one of many education services that the GEER Fund supports. As a leader for more than three decades in the early childhood field, SMIF was awarded this funding in order to disperse grants to organizations in SMIF’s region. Since 2021, SMIF has awarded 45 organizations a total of $590,818 through this program.

In addition to the grants, hundreds of early learning books were distributed to many of these organizations, thanks to a partnership with ABDO Publishing.